CineSavant Column

Saturday March 25, 2023



Our first entry on this hopefully-dry California day comes from the dependable Gary Teetzel, who is always on the prowl for anything Karloff-related. A YouTube poster named Gino Cuddy has loaded up an entire old filmed celebrity quiz show from 1941,  Information Please! with Boris Karloff.

This certainly feels rare to us. We’re told that the RKO quiz short was based on a radio show. Some visual clues are added to make it more suitable for the movies. It’s unusual to see extended footage of Boris ‘out of character’ from this period in his career. He doesn’t do particularly well in the quiz, but the final answer he gives is rather appropriate given his screen image. One of the ‘guest interrogators’ on the Information Please! panel is Oscar Levant.



Was the Shock and Awe of last year’s Babylon too much for you — but you still crave a noxious dose of show business shame and sleaze?  CineSavant correspondent Michael McQuarrie may have found the answer.

From the vaunted Internet Archive comes a 1922 pamphlet publication that assures us was ‘Reported by a Hollywood Newspaper Man’: The Sins of Hollywood, by the Hollywood Publishing company. I can firmly attest that the grammar and spelling therein are fairly commendable. I noted that they called the Mexican town Tijuana, ‘Tia Juana.’  I think that was common, though.

Hide this from the kids!  Sampled chapters: “Strip Poker and Paddle Parties” … “A Wonderful Lover” … “The Girl Who Wanted Work” … “Sodom Outdone.”

I looked really hard, honest, and regret to report that I found nothing about the raw, naked truth of Elephants at Hollywood orgies.



The good news has already circulated, but CineSavant has no qualms about reporting it after everyone else has: Kino Lorber says it has a 4K Ultra HD disc for Charles Laughton’s superlative The Night of the Hunter on the way. I’m assured that the 4K scan is definitely NEW.

This one hasn’t faded one iota in 68 years — it’s Americana art from the get-go, disturbing and powerful and unique. It ought to look great in 4K. Tim Lucas is the audio commentator of note. Kino’s stats say the show will carry an isolated Music and Effects Track. That’s good news, as the original vinyl soundtrack for this show is a rare, rare item. The projected street date is May 30.

Film devotees really need TWO discs of Night of the Hunter. If the older Criterion disc is still available, its feature-length extra by UCLA archivist Robert Gitt is a must-see: an assembly of sync sound outtakes, preserved by Elsa Lanchester. It’s an incredible record of Laughton’s direction. It’s biggest surprise is that it shows Robert Mitchum giving a major directing assist with the child actors. Mitchum would seem the most creatively co-operative, patient leading movie star in Hollywood.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson